Safety regulators probe Ford driver assist features after fatal crash

Safety regulators probe Ford driver assist features after fatal crash - Automotive - News

NHTSA and NTSB Launch Independent Investigations into Ford Mustang Mach-E Fatal Crash Involving Advanced Driver Assistance System

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have initiated separate investigations into a tragic traffic incident that occurred on Interstate Highway 10 in San Antonio, Texas, involving a Ford Mustang Mach-E and a stationary Honda CR-V. Preliminary reports suggest that the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) in the Ford vehicle may have been active during the collision, which resulted in the death of the Honda’s driver.

Advanced driver assistance systems are gaining popularity among automakers due to their potential to reduce accidents on the roads. However, federal safety regulators have expressed concerns over the possible consequences of over-reliance on these features by drivers, which might lead to unintended accidents.

The NHTSA has previously opened more than three dozen special crash investigations since 2016, focusing on Tesla’s Autopilot and other advanced systems with a reported 20 fatalities linked to their use. This marks the first such investigation by NHTSA into a Ford advanced driver assistance system. The agency typically conducts over 100 special crash investigations annually, exploring emerging technologies and potential auto safety issues.

On February 24, the NTSB announced it was launching an investigation into the crash “due to its continued interest in advanced driver assistance systems and how vehicle operators interact with these technologies.”

Based on initial reports, the Ford SUV struck the rear of a stationary Honda CR-V in a traffic lane. The driver of the Honda, 56-year-old Jeffrey Allen Johnson from Austin, was taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead following the collision. The San Antonio police report revealed that the Ford had “partial automation” engaged at the time of the crash.

Ford describes its BlueCruise system as an advanced hands-free driving technology that operates on approximately 97% of highways in the United States and Canada, free from intersections or traffic signals. In response to the incident, a Ford spokesperson stated: “We reported this incident to NHTSA as soon as we were made aware, and we are actively researching all available information. Safety is a top priority for all of us at Ford, and we will collaborate fully with any resulting investigation.”

Both the NHTSA and NTSB investigations into this tragic incident will shed light on the role of advanced driver assistance systems in preventing collisions as well as potential risks associated with their use. Previous investigations by the NTSB into Tesla’s Autopilot and “Full Self Driving” (FSD) systems have highlighted the importance of maintaining driver attention and engagement while utilizing these advanced technologies.

Update: News Finder’s Chris Isidore contributed to this article with relevant information regarding the Tesla crashes mentioned earlier in the piece. However, for the purpose of creating an engaging and -friendly article, we will focus on expanding the content around the Ford Mustang Mach-E investigation while removing the News Finder reference.